In 2012, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that the National Immunisation Programme for influenza be extended to include healthy children/adolescents aged 2–17 years. In the UK, extension of this new immunisation programme began in 2013/2014 and targeted children aged 2 years and 3 years in primary care. Several implementation pilots were undertaken in primary schools across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as a single pilot in a secondary school in England. This article shares lessons learnt from experiences in England and Scotland to provide guidance for other countries considering addition of childhood influenza vaccination into their national immunisation programmes.
Recommendations are provided to help ensure effective preparation and management of new childhood influenza vaccination programmes in other countries. This article describes the processes utilised in England and Scotland for programme setup, workforce management, identification and care of contraindicated patients, collection of data on vaccine uptake, communication strategies, and education of parents and children.